The SRA recently announced that they would be taking a ‘pragmatic’ approach to reports of non-compliance by solicitors and firms during the COVID-19 period, and every breach reported to the regulator would be assessed on its own merits.
We have outlined some of our general tips for compliance below:
- Make sure your file reviews are up to date. If you have fallen behind due to the practicality of remote reviews, carry these out as and when staff start to come back into the office. If you are a Lexcel accredited firm, record your reasons for not carrying out file reviews on the scheduled dates.
- Close down and archive files.
- Keep regular checks for inactivity on open matters, and try to provide client updates wherever you can. Failing to advise has previously been identified by the Legal Ombudsmen as a common cause of client complaints.
- Staff competency and training plans should be kept. These should include any remote based sessions they have attended in the last few weeks. We have recently delivered remote training and received positive feedback from our clients.
- Keep on top of your client reconciliations and record your reasons for any departure from the Rules.
- Make sure your complaints procedure is working, and any issues raised by a client direct with the fee earner are forwarded to your complaint’s handler. Any delay in investigating client complaints should be recorded on file, and produced to the Legal Ombudsmen if and when an information request is made.
- Limit the use of personal devices and public networks by staff when accessing case matters. This would include use of personal laptops/mobiles and accessing public wi-fi connections.
If your firm requires any further compliance support then please contact us today for a free consultation.